Gold Hill always seems to be in the news for the wrong reasons. As someone who has lived here off and on for the last 20 years, let me tell you why what you think you know about Gold Hill is wrong. Though, I am hesitant to let you in on the secret. I almost prefer that you continue to think of it negatively, because then you won’t move here, and those of us who already live here would rather have it all to ourselves.
First, the geography. Gold Hill is nestled into a bend of the Rogue River. If you drew a rectangle around the town, two of our borders are created by the river. Not only do we have more than 80 acres of park along the river (on both sides of it), we also have a beach with a great swimming hole. Just north of the beach, Ti’lomikh Falls is renowned for its whitewater rapids, and our park is the best place to put in for a kayaking adventure.
Inside city limits, the houses in Gold Hill start at the river and work their way up the hillside. Because of the geography, there’s not much room to grow. We’re always going to be a small town, and we like it that way.
Then there’s the nature. Of course, being on the river we have osprey, but I also see deer passing through town every single day. And they’re not aggressive, like I hear the ones in Ashland are. They’re a welcome part of our neighborhood, just like the turkeys and raccoons. I’m not so fond of the skunks, though, and neither are my dogs. But, live and let live.
Next, Gold Hill is in a great location. We’re right on the freeway, and it’s about the same distance in either direction to Grants Pass or Medford. It’s perfect if you want a short commute. Old Stage Road can shoot you to Jacksonville, or you can follow Highway 234 north toward Shady Cove, Crater Lake and beyond. It’s convenient in all directions. If you’re not in a hurry, our bike path through our park and town recently got connected to Valley of the Rogue State Park, and it’s a great ride.
Finally, there’s the community itself. A lot of what does get done in Gold Hill happens with volunteers. This year, we started a bottle and can drive to raise money for our holiday decorations, and the support from the community has been overwhelming. This December, we’re going to be one of the best decorated towns in the valley.
So go ahead and think the worst of Gold Hill. Yes, we have a rough and tumble reputation, but we like it that way. It keeps people away. If you all started coming here and realized how beautiful and peaceful our town really is, we wouldn’t be able to stop you. And we prefer to keep it to ourselves.
Jessica Simpson lives in Gold Hill (obviously).
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